UNSG’s Remarks on Energy Transition

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) warmly welcomes the remarks of the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres setting out key actions to achieve the energy transition. His remarks were made during the launch of the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate 2021 report. Responding to the announcement, IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said:

“Across the world, we need bold and courageous voices to be heard. Voices that say the time for discussion has ended; now is the time for concerted action by every nation. Against this backdrop, I wholeheartedly endorse the words of Mr. Guterres. He spoke loud and clear.

After all, we all know what must be done and when it must be achieved. IRENA has said this plainly in our World Energy Transitions Outlook—also known as WETO—which refuses to allow hard facts to be clouded by high hopes. If we are to stay on the 1.5°C highway to 2030, we must ramp up the process towards renewables-based energy systems. The transition must be now. If not, we risk failure.

We must also embrace a systemic approach to renewable energy deployment, including a clear focus on flexible, interconnected, balanced power grids, efficiency solutions, green hydrogen, and numerous supporting technologies. I also welcome Mr. Guterres’ focus on policy investment, especially when simultaneously linked to training. Eighty per cent of nations are net importers of fossil fuels. IRENA’s work is dedicated not just to replacing that fuel, but to creating a new system that builds new industries and reshapes economies.

In this work, the developing world cannot be left on the starting line. There can be no acceptance of a twin track for countries. We are in this together, and this means enabling developing countries to benefit from opportunities and innovations. If not, there will be little hope of reaching our goals.

At IRENA, we are committed to empowering countries so that energy transition is best for economies and societies. Our reports clearly separate what is pragmatically able from simple fable. We have found that energy transition can add 85 million energy transition-related jobs by 2030. But while losses can be offset, policymakers need to offer tailored policies, training and new opportunities.

The WETO report also shows that 1.5°C can be achieved with a total of USD 5.7 trillion energy transition investment per year until 2030. The understanding is there, but we need to do more to bring along nations, investors, innovators and citizens. National ambition must be translated into national action.

As a global organisation IRENA is committed to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and ensuring that no one is left out. The energy transition involves everyone, our solutions must also be for the world.”

See the UN Secretary-General’s video message on the launch of the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate 2021 Report.